My impressions of Ubuntu/Unity - Ubuntu 12.04

Posted by tracyanne on Sep 14, 2012 8:16 AM EST
LXer; By tracyanne
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I've been using Ubuntu 12.04 on my MSI netbook for about a week now. The netbook is a 10" model with a 1.66 Gig dual core Intel Atom N280 CPU, 1 Gig of RAM and Intel Mobile 945GSE Integrated Graphics, 3 USB ports, VGA out, and Microphone and Headphone sockets, and an SD card slot.

I've been using Ubuntu 12.04 on my MSI netbook for about a week now. The netbook is a 10" model with a 1.66 Gig dual core Intel Atom N280 CPU, 1 Gig of RAM and Intel Mobile 945GSE Integrated Graphics, 3 USB ports, VGA out, and Microphone and Headphone sockets, and an SD card slot.

I've been using it with Ubuntu Studio, with XFCE desktop and Audio applications, but became quite annoyed with it because it kept losing the network applet, and it never seemed to connect with the wireless network unless I was within a meter of the transmitter.

So as I had a copy of Ubuntu on hand, I decided to give that a go.

I won't bore you with the installation details, it's the standard Ubuntu Live CD install to hard drive, nothing spectacular, pretty much click next and answer a few questions, it went flawlessly from a USB stick.

Let me say now, that surprise surprise, in general I like it. Unity is after all, basically just the Netbook remix desktop updated, and made prettier. The side panel can be quite annoying if you load too many applications onto it, but it's fine to work with otherwise.

While I'm at it, I'll get the things that annoy me out of the way first.

I dislike the Dash, for two reasons:

1/ It's transparent, and it's impossible to make it opaque, you can make it slightly less transparent, but that doesn't help me much. With my eyes (astigmatic, shortsighted, and each eye requiring fairly radically different prescriptions), I find it difficult in the extreme to make out which are the dash icons and which are not.

2/ It's not a menu system, it's a result set for a search system, which is fine if you know what you are looking for, but it doesn't have the flexibility or the ease of discovery that a menu system offers. Yes one can get used to it, and even work quite effectively with it, but it's still not a patch on a decent menu system.

Working with multiple monitors:

Unless you have the second, and subsequent monitors (I've only tried it with 2), off to your right of the primary monitor, it really doesn't work very well, anything else is visually annoying.

In short it works very well on a single monitor system.

The overlay scrollbar, which fortunately can be easily removed, it really is a quite stupid idea, and must cause untold problems for people who aren't good with a mouse.

HUD, like the Dash, it's ok if you actually know what it is you are looking for. On the other hand no amount of "it makes the box bigger" will tell you what to do to enlarge a drawing of a box in Inkscape, for example.

The first time ran the system, after th initial reboot, I had not yet installed the restricted extras. I opened Firefox and surfed to a site with a flash video, there was a message stating that I needed to install flash, so I clicked on the link, expecting to be taken to the Adobe site, but instead a window popped up with a message stating that flash was already in the repositories, would I like to install (Oh good I thought, this is very helpful for newbies), so I clicked on the yes button and waited, then another message window popped to tell me it couldn't find any reference to a flash installer, Oh dear I thought, that's going to confuse a few people.

Ok, there's that stuff out of the way.

I've been using the system with Unity for about a week, and as I said, in general I like it. It allows me to do all of the things like web browsing and listening to music etc, the common things one does quite easily, just plonk the relevant icon on the side panel and Bobs your Uncle.

Back to the reason I installed Ubuntu after using Ubuntu Studio, or more precisely the problems it solved for me. Networking started working properly. My wireless network router is inside our bus, but with Ubuntu 12,04 installed (btw Ubuntu Studio was based on 12.04), I can now be at least 50 meters from the bus and still get a good wifi signal, from both my wifi networks, previously Ubuntu Studio with XFCE would only recognise 1 of my networks (the first one I set up), it couldn't even find the other.

As I've been using Ubuntu Studio, I've actually been doing some recording, using Hydrogen and Audacity primarily, with several devices connected in via USB, and audio out from the headphone socket.

The setup is (and was) The netbook, with a large 1680x1050 monitor, a 2 channel Alesis IO2 Express connected Via USB, My Fender Mustang II connected via USB, audio out from the headphone socket to the IO2, and Headphone socket of the Fender to the other channel of the IO2, headphone out from the IO2 to a wireless headphone.

Previously with the Ubuntu Studio rig, the Sound system recognised the IO2 (USB connection) as a sound source, and the Mustang (USB connection) as a sound source, which was fine. However after installing Ubuntu, I discovered several sound source and sound sink options, that were suddenly available to me, including Digital and analogue input and output options for the IO2 and the Mustang. I'm still having problems with Jack, but I always have problems with Jack, so I can't blame this system.

Previously, with Ubuntu Studio I had not been able to use both Audacity and Hydrogen at the same time (I had to export the Hydrogen track to an audio file, and play that),, now with Ubuntu I can play hydrogen tracks and record with Audacity.

Clearly both of those occurrences have made a good impression on me.

So in my opinion, Ubuntu with Unity a pretty usable system.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Some additional information tracyanne 5 1,445 Sep 22, 2012 9:47 PM

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